Investigation of the impact of roof configurations on the wind and thermal environment in football stadiums in hot climates

Bonser, Sam and Hughes, Ben Richard and Calautit, John Kaiser (2019) Investigation of the impact of roof configurations on the wind and thermal environment in football stadiums in hot climates. International Journal of Ventilation. pp. 1-20. ISSN 2044-4044 (

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The present study provides an analysis of existing literature encompassing the wind and thermal analysis of football stadia, and how both can be manipulated through the modification of roof geometry. It introduces the potential for cooling strategies to create an internal environment capable of hosting elite-level international football in a hot climate. The motivation for the study stems from an absence of existing literature focussing on thermal flow in hot conditions for stadia and the requirement to investigate the hosting capabilities of Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Stadium design plays a crucial role in determining the success of the tournament not only through the month-long event, but also with the legacy it leaves afterwards. To carry out the analysis, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations were conducted in an effort to produce internal conditions that satisfy official FIFA guidelines on optimal playing conditions in terms of wind and temperature distribution. These are ran on a model validated against existing literature to ensure accuracy, but considering the potential for error between model generations. The conclusions drawn suggest that a downward-pitched, large-radius retractable roof subsidised by the introduction of a mechanical system to create a cooling strategy reduces the external temperature down to 23 °C, with wind velocities not exceeding 4 m/s. Reinforced by results, these desired playing conditions can be achieved by closing the roof to precondition the stadium before an event, with the roof then retracted to ensure compliance with FIFA guidelines. The results from the present study can be a component in achieving a sustained positive legacy for the upcoming FIFA World Cup.